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GNUe Traffic #20 For 16�Mar�2002

By Peter Sullivan

Free Dmitry aftermath - " I was at work yesterday and the CFO of our company asked me what the bumper sticker on the back of my car (the one that reads "Coding is Not a Crime") means. And I told him, "Oh, I dunno. It helps me get girls." And err he started laughing... "

Table Of Contents


This Cousin covers the three main mailing lists for the GNU Enterprise project, gnue, gnue-dev and gnue-announce. For more information about GNUe, see their home page at Details of the mailing lists can be found at,,

It also covers the #gnuenterprise IRC channel. A great deal of development discussion for this project goes on in IRC. You can find #gnuenterprise on, or you can review the logs at

1. GNUe Application Server (GEAS) version 2

4�Mar�2002�-�11�Mar�2002 (3 posts) Archive Link: "[Gnue-dev] GEAS is dead. Long live GEAS."

Topics: Financials (Accounting)

People: Reinhard M�ller,�Charles Rouzer,�Daniel Baumann,�Derek Neighbors

Reinhard M�ller officially announed " the decision to rewrite the GNU Enterprise Application Server from scratch. The rewrite will take place in python. We have decided to keep the acronym "GEAS"." There was a whitepaper available for comments. "The next step would be to define the interface GEAS shows against the front end" , which would be done in the next few days/weeks. Charles Rouzer suggested "I would like security and authentication seperated in the white paper" , as authentication could be done via the database back-end, whilst security could be done using "Role Base Access Control (RBAC)" , which could be tied "into future OSs that also implement RBAC" , as previously discussed. Reinhard agreed these were important, but said they were both aspects of " the single big and important goal that the system must be secure." However, " I am 100% sure we will come back on viewing these points seperate as soon as we talk about implementation details." .

Some days later, on IRC, Daniel Baumann (chillywilly) asked " what are the current geas assignments?" . Derek Neighbors (derek) said "we need to use DCL for our todos - i think the big current item is to document common" . Daniel was keen to do some work on API design - this would be for 'internal' APIs within GEAs "or comething that will go in common if we chose to put it there" . Reinhard M�ller (reinhard) suggested basing any API proposals on "neilt's drawing" . He said "the most important interface is what GEAS (as a whole) shows against forms - the "external" API of geas so to speak" . Daniel suggested "I would think for that forms would use OQL" , adding "ODMG has a bunch of interfaces" . Reinhard suggested "i think we must discuss with jamest what would make most sense to him" .

Reinhard confirmed that Derek had requested "GEASv2 still is named geas - and said that it would be no problem to remove all docs from the web and everywhere that refer to the first implementation and are not longer valid - however i'd like to ask who will do this removement" .

Daniel suggested "we should fiogure out what parts are "common" to geas arhitecture - probably security and protoclo adapters can be factored out into common" . He suggested "I think the diagram could be much refined altogether...maybe that's what I'll start with, breaking things down further" . Reinhard said "that's why i think we need a lot of communication with jcater and jamest - much more than before" . Daniel agreed - "we shooting toward a much more integrated GNUe :) [...] this is good for unity, because too long have various parts just been "distant" - it was like talk to me at an arms length (CORBA)" .

Two days later, Reinhard confirmed that "the geas that is currently in the downloads area or in cvs is the "old" incarnation and we have stopped development on that. A complete rewrite from scratch is just about to be started" . This meant that any time spent trying to get the existing GNUe Application Server (GEAS) to run would likely be wasted. He said "i guess what i'm saying is - there is no "geas" at the moment - the old has died - the new has not yet been born - but keep your eyes open - the new one will arrive soon :)" On timescales, he noted " currently all of GNU Enterprise is volunteer work - we all do it in our spare time" . However, "remember you can use GNU Enterprise in 2-tier and in n-tier mode - 2-tier means forms talks directly to database - this is very usable already and it is used in production at several places" .

On the new GEAS, Reinhard thought "it will be some months until that constellation is usabel in production" , but this could be speeded up considerably if an external company was willing to lend programmers to help. He said "the new incarnation of the application server will be written in python - however python is very easy to learn" , and boasted "i still have to see the man that started to learn python and did not like it :)" . Derek (dneighbo) said that there was no real documentation on the new GEAS yet, but there was "some 'precusory' stuff" on the website.

2. uuid header file for GNUe Application Server

5�Mar�2002�-�6�Mar�2002 (3 posts) Archive Link: "[gnue-geas] ./configure error"

Topics: Application Server

People: Emmanuel Salvador,�Jens M�ller,�Reinhard M�ller

Emmanuel Salvador reported a problem with the configure script for GNUe Application Server 0.0.5 and posted his "log file" , which showed the problem was with the uuid header file. Jens M�ller noted that " The Debian package" for GEAS listed libuuid1 as a dependancy. Reinhard confimed this, saying "uuid.h is a part of the ext2fs package" and explained where to find it. However, he warned " that geas-0.0.5 is a development version and does about nothing that would be usable to the end user" . It was also about to be made obsolete by the "rewrite of GEAS" now under way.

3. Naming conventions in GNUe Application Server

7�Mar�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 07 Mar 2002"

Topics: Application Server

People: Dmitry Sorokin,�Reinhard M�ller,�Peter Sullivan,�ra3vat

Dmitry Sorokin (ra3vat) asked "is that naming convention for packages, modules in geas you did with neilt still making sense ?" Reinhard said "i think yes - because it's about how the packages, modules and classes can be translated into table and column names" . Dmitry asked where it was documented. Reinhard said "i think it should be somewhere in the mailing list archives - probably in the old archives - plus i think it's in the module writer's guide - but not sure" .

(ed. [Peter Sullivan] It's also 'documented' (in a sense) in Issue�#11, Section�#3� (6�Jan�2002:�Old and new parser for GNUe Class Definitions) . )

4. Debian packages for GNUe

7�Mar�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 07 Mar 2002"

People: Derek Neighbors,�Nick Rusnov

In an attempt to conclude Issue�#20, Section�#4� (7�Mar�2002:�Debian packages for GNUe) , Derek Neighbors (dneighbo) asked "nickr think i could sucker you into fixing our debian packages?" . Nick Rusnov (nickr) asked "are they broken again? - the bugs that I had filed god closed." Derek said "i think common is busted - as designer cant find some images - and the .conf file doesnt get created only the sample" . Nick asked "are they based on a release or CVS?" . Derek wasn't sure - "eventually i would like to see - gnue-forms, gnue-appsever, gnue-designer, gnue-common - then a tasksel for gnue" , and eventually seperate versions of common for each database backend, "just like apache does with its 'modules'" . It would be interesting to have 'dev' packages for the CVS versions as well - Nick said "-cvs is the normal suffix for cvs stuff" . Derek said "for now just release no other frills is cool by me :)" .

5. Document Management for GNUe

8�Mar�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 08 Mar 2002"

Topics: Common

People: Nick Rusnov,�Stuart Bain,�Derek Neighbors

Continuing Issue�#15, Section�#6� (3�Feb�2002:�Document Storage/Content Management for GNUe) , Nick Rusnov (nickr) provided Stuart Bain (stbain) with a link to his document store proposals. He said "the storage part is pretty simple - the library will be the fun part." . Stuart said the "indexing, sorting, searching" would be the difficult part. Nick said it would use "GnUe Common - I believe that it provides DB neutrality" . The front end would be through "forms/web/whatever - all the various objects are RPC and 'trustless' or reduced trust relationships - so your client just has to speak RPC" . Derek Neighbors (dneighbo) confirmed that Common would provide datanbase and RPC abstraction, but said "currently only good docs for common are the source :( - we do plan on changing that though" .

6. ERP Standards

10�Mar�2002�-�12�Mar�2002 (3 posts) Archive Link: "XRBL & Other Goodies"

Topics: Financials (Accounting)

People: Todd Boyle,�Derek Neighbors,�Zachary Coffin

Todd Boyle replied to Zachary Coffin' e-mail in Issue�#18, Section�#7� (21�Feb�2002:�ERP Standards) , noting "More of your word-count is directed at me, as a person than on issues." . After discussing the issues raised in Zack's e-mail point by point, he concluded "Give us a GL schema. Not a taxonomy for XBRL. No more delays or manuevers." Derek Neighbors reprised the issue of membership fees for standards bodies, noting "Anything above no cost for a group of free software developers is too much." He preferred the GNU/Linux model, where "The bigger plays should be ponying up the resources in largest volume as they have the most to GAIN, but they shouldnt lock out the little guy, as that is a free resource to them." He noted that " several people over the years have asked us to look at XBRL for G/L stuff and we saw it only as a reporting standard not a G/L standard. Which leads me to believe people are stupid (either for miscontruing this or not finding the G/L standard in there) or that its being misrepresented/mismarketed somewhere." . He said he had "publicly criticized Todd in many areas and vice versa" but "I think he has been pretty cordial here in combating what appears to be FUD with facts. It has been an interesting dialog and several good issues are brought up. Fortunately or Unfortunately we have been so head down on coding tools we havent been taking issue with all the accounting world around us. When we do I think that these conversations will only get better."

7. GNUe Project Management

11�Mar�2002�-�13�Mar�2002 (4 posts) Archive Link: "Project Management Package?"

Topics: Project Management

People: Gil Hauer,�Derek Neighbors

Gil Hauer asked about " the project management package for GNUE" Derek said that DCL would probably " become the base for our project management package" , but if Gil didn't "think DCL fits what you are looking for let us know and we can start looking into getting a proposal written and something implemented." . Gil said " Perhaps the best thing to do is to try to explain, in some small way, what I as a project manager need to do." . He raised a series of detailed points under the headings of:

  1. Project Planning
  2. Project Control
  3. Project Close

as well as issues such as contact management, document management and version control.

8. GNUe Application Server API

11�Mar�2002�-�13�Mar�2002 (5 posts) Archive Link: "[Gnue-dev] First draft for an API of the GNU Enterprise Application Server"

Topics: Application Server

People: Reinhard M�ller,�Daniel Baumann

Reinhard M�ller announced "a first draft of the API is available" , and asked for comments.

Daniel Baumann said " I don't really see much of a difference between your 'session' object and what exists already in the current geas as a 'connection' object. In fact I thought we might build a more pluggable authentication framework ans implement 'permissions' stuff in an RBAC way." . Reinhard agreed, but said "I guess this is internal to the Appserver, while the interface I was trying to describe is the interface the Appserver shows against Forms or Reports." Daniel said "your session object does make a bit more sense now. I do have a rough idea how things will work and I will attain a better one once I look at how client programs use the ODMG interfaces" .

Daniel also suggested " For Transaction objects I would use the current transaction.idl as that interface is exactly the on from the ODMG standard and it includes more than just commit() and rollback()." . Reinhard said he would look at Daniel's notes on this.

Daniel also noted that " ODMG defines various collections (set, bag, list, dictionary) which may not be immediately apparent to their usefulness in regards to business objects, however I have now come to find out they are extremely useful in doing OQL queries" , adding "I think these collections need to be implemented." Reinhard said he wasn't sure whether all of these were needed - where functionality was needed, it should be provided " according to existing standards, but I'm not sure if it makes sense to implement functionality that will not be used, just because there is a standard for it." However, "the Forms and Reports team will have to decide if they find it useful to be able to request sets, bags or dictionaries of objects from the Appserver." Daniel agreed, noting that "there will be an OQL interface and an Introspection interface." Reinhard said he wasn't sure - "Instead of the OQL interface, we could use the query tree system from common that forms uses internally now. This could be the better way than to let Forms translate the query from tree to OQL and let the Appserver translate OQL back to query tree :)" On introspection, he had considered " the idea of allowing introspection by pseudo business objects" . This was similar in concept to the way that relational databases did it.

9. Status of GNUe Applications

11�Mar�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 11 Mar 2002"

Topics: Financials (Accounting), DCL

People: Reinhard M�ller,�Derek Neighbors

It was asked whether GNUe was usable as at time of writing to manage a small business. Reinhard M�ller (reinhard) said "gnue is two projects in one - a. create the tools that can be used to build powerful business applications - b. create the powerful business applications themselves" . Derek Neighbors (dneighbo) added "c. a meta package of GNU that bundles enterprise software for the GNU project :)" . Reinhard said "if you are looking at a tool that lets you build your own business apps - then you could use gnue for sure" . Derek said "if you are wanting to open the box and press the button to have accounting then nope :)" - however, "DCL and Bayonne are both available and working" .

It was asked how much development would be needed to get something usable. Derek said this "depends - for example i expect DCL to be ready very soon for small business (SERVICE) based consultants" . He explained DCL was "like a project management / help desk system - we are adding strong CRM support into it - and making it so that the work order side could be used to generate invoices i.e. a time entry/crm/billing solution for software consultants (or any service based company) - it is quite usable today" . However, he confirmed that there is no way to do accounting, and was not expected soon.

Later, it was asked what level of development was needed to develop in GNUe. Derek said "our framework is designd for BUSINESS ANALYST more thna 'programmers' - so if you can understand table structures and know what you want your app to do - doing it in GNUe shouldnt be too difficult even for a non 'programmer'" .

10. GNUe Reports proposal

11�Mar�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 11 Mar 2002"

Topics: Reports, DCL

People: Bajusz Tam�s,�James Thompson,�Derek Neighbors

Bajusz Tam�s (btami) asked about GNUe Reports - "is there any directions - or frozen ?" . James Thompson (jamest) said there was " nothing in stone - but jcater has been the only one coding on it - so I imagine the docs are all in that head of his :) - or in some text files in the reports/doc dir" . Derek Neighbors (dneighbo) said "the code works - the biggest hang up is we need to 'define' our tags - several of us have mentioned some things but no one made a 'proposal' - once that is done i can do XSLT style sheets against them" . Bajusz asked what was meant by 'tags.' Derek said these would cover "setup and layout - so you might hae like - <title>my foo report</title>" . This was documented at He explained "basically that doc isnt what we WANT - but it helps describe what we are looking for. I'm all about starting simple - and working way into more complex reporting ojbects :)" . Bajusz said he would read it and "try a proposal" .

11. GNUe Kernel Cousins on linuxtoday

12�Mar�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 12 Mar 2002"

Topics: Why GNUe?

People: Daniel Baumann,�Jason Cater,�Derek Neighbors,�David McWherter,�James Thompson,�Nick Rusnov

Daniel Baumann (chillywilly) noted " hey did you guys see that we got 2 talkbacks on linuxtoday aboutvt he KC?" . Jason Cater (jcater) said he "is responding" . Derek Neighbors (derek) said "hey talking crap about gnue is like eating pizza - if im not involved its not allowed" .

Jason pasted his reply - " There are in effect two different projects at work here. The first one is a database-backed application framework. Several of us are using the Forms and Designer components in a production (or commercial) environment in 2-tier mode (i.e., the client talks directly to the database and doesn't delegate any logic to an application server middleware). The Application Server (GEAS) is being reworked and is not, to my knowledge, used in production environment. When you see comments about not preserving backwards compatability, they are referring to GEAS."

" The second part, actual business applications (such as financials, supply chain management, etc) are still in the planning stages and are awaiting a working application server. So, to answer your question, yes, parts of it are being used in production. I use custom forms (designed inhouse) that connect to my Oracle database to run parts of our callcenter and warehouse. Come check us out."

David McWherter (dtm) suggested " uh oh if there was a linuxtoday article about gnue today, then we'd better behave ourselves - someone might be watching" . Daniel wasn't worried - "psu knows what to edit out" . James Thompson (jamest) suggested "looks like we'd better ban most the losers that hang out here - including ourselves" , at which point the Channel Server bot granted him operator status.

Derek "submitted two responses as well - though for clarification ( i suppose we should document this better) gnue is three things :)" :

  1. a gnu meta package bundling gnu project packages that are enterprise related
  2. an application framework
  3. applications built using the framework

Nick Rusnov (nickr) asked " is there a whatis section on the wesite?" . Derek said that "'What is GNUe?' is first thing on the left corner of the webpage - if only the 'blink' tag wasnt banned" . Nick suggested " <span style="font-size: 10em">Eh! What the frig is this shit?</span>" , noting " 10em font would be like half a screen high or so." .

12. i18n support in GNUe Forms

12�Mar�2002�-�13�Mar�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 12 Mar 2002"

Topics: Forms

People: Derek Neighbors,�Arturas Kriukovas

Following on from Issue�#16, Section�#7� (9�Feb�2002:�Occasional unicode problems with Designer) and Issue�#18, Section�#4� (21�Feb�2002:�GNUe full-time developers) , Derek Neighbors (laurie) noted that "arturas has been jamming on i18n" , and " i think his conclusion is he has patch that makes it work with our parser - BUT - wxWindows doesnt support unicode (and he hit same python bug i think we did)" .

The next day, Derek asked Arturas Kriukovas (Arturas2) whether he had "sent anything to the wxWindows/wxPython mailing lists to ask when items will be corrected on thier end" ? Arturas said he hadn't, "because i'm not sure whether this is because of my not big knowledge (maybe i just don't knwo something) - and to tell the truth i didn't think about this possibility :(" . Derek said he had "forwarded it jamest and jcater to try to see if they had any insight - i will try to look at it tonight" .

13. Wizard changes in Designer

12�Mar�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 12 Mar 2002"

Topics: Designer

People: Derek Neighbors,�Jason Cater

Derek Neighbors (dneighbo) asked " what is the datasources editor for exactly... (it appears to not do anything you cant do in properties or schema editor) " . and added "are you open to suggestions on schema editor...." . Jason Cater (jcater) said that "datasource editor predated schema navigator - and datasource editor will eventually be more than it is now " . Derek said he " would like to see us get more into database space i.e. show a tree view of drivers installed and let you config them and set optoins etc... but also allow you to create table defintions in designer" . This was not really urgent, but "lots of people (the business users) are hung up on concept of having to hand write a sql script" . Jason said he had "started on such a thing - but this damn real life keeps interfering" .

Derek said " that guy in here today yogurt (dont know exact nick) wanted dynamic table editor - which might be pretty cool as example of python wx application that is not gnue but uses gnue-common - basically fire it up and select a driver, select a database, select a table, select some fields - and it opens in a wxGrid. At first i was like just make a form, but then i recalled that i had such a tool i made in delphi one afternoon that was EXTREMELY valuable - as it was a real easy way to view data in a lightweight way without having to make forms" . Jason said "not sure I see how this is different than our "multi-row" layout option in the Simple Wizard" . Derek said he "thought it might be a decent usage of gnue common outside gnue :) - not saying WE should author it :)" . Jason said "my only fear is that has SO much in common with forms" that there was a danger of "feature-creep" .

Derek suggested that the master detail wizard "should list all fields in master on left and all fields for detail on right - you highlight the field in each you want and click a button in the middle to bind them" . Jason asked "how would that work w/multiple keys?" Derek suggested "you can highlight multiple on both sides" . Jason emphasised that the master-detail wizard had been "a sample wizard to show what designer could do AS IT SITS :) - never said it was the best or final way ;)" . Derek said the wizard could also ask "how many rows the detail is if you choose grid" . Jason said he had been torn about this - "as that isn't actually a "grid" wizard but a simple demo wizard and I don't want to keep cramming options in that simple wizard" . Derek suggested "if we made it automatically put a scrollbar on right then i dont think we need to ask" .

Jason said he had "never had the inclination or need to try scrollbars so I dunno how they work" . Derek confirmed that the Technical Reference manual stated that scrollbars were " Only partially implemented at this time. Will show on form but do nothing" , which was exactly what "my bug report to jamest was gonig to be" .

14. DCL and GNUe Enterprise

13�Mar�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 13 Mar 2002"

Topics: DCL

People: Michael Dean,�Derek Neighbors,�Peter Sullivan

Michael Dean (mdean) said he had "got 2 offers to help develop features today" . On the first, Derek Neighbors (dneighbo) said "i think we want RBAC" but he preferred either "a. do it right even if it takes a long time - b. do a hack to meet current needs knowing it needs to be done right eventually." He felt the proposal seemed to fall between these two approaches. Michael said "I think he'll go for RBAC" . He had also had a volunteer keen to work on "authentication, enhanced configuration, and additional look-and-feel template sets." .

Peter Sullivan (psu) asked if DCL should now be referred to as "GNUe DCL", in the light of Issue�#19, Section�#14� (5�Mar�2002:�GNUe/DCL merger announced) . Michael wasn't "sure how we should approach that..." . Derek suggested "for now call it DCL - we havent worked out specifics of GNUe DCL - i imagine as it advances it will be - GNUe HelpDesk, GNUe Project Managment, or something - but we are a ways off from that :)" . Michael said "it's a tricky thing, since DCL has built its own brand" . Derek said "i think initially DCL is like Bayonne in that its a project under GNUe - but it slowly will start to get GNUe front ends (but still keep its back ends) and then over time start to use contacts module of gnue, accounting module of gnue, invoice, etc etc - here then it will be uch more of a 'hybrid'" . Michael suggested "I would reserve GNUe DCL for a GNUe framework implementation - like your DCL forms" . Derek agreed - "basically there are still tons of steps :) - but the first and biggest has been taken, and that is to work together on a much deeper level than just acknowledging one anothers projects as a nicety - but rather immerse the visions of both projects into a reality" . He admitted this sounded like "marketing spew" , but blamed the Kernel Cousins, "as i know i will be quoted :)" .

15. 2-tier vs. n-tier applications

13�Mar�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 13 Mar 2002"

Topics: Forms

People: Charles Rouzer,�Jason Cater,�Peter Sullivan,�Nick Rusnov,�Charles Rouser

Charles Rouzer (Mr_You) asked "how would I get real functionality with just a 2-tier app? - ie. its just a data in/out app, not much functionality beyond that." Jason Cater (jcater) said "there's no less functionality than in n-tier mode - it's just where does the functionality lie" . Charles asked "so how do I get "external" functionality? such as, data is inputed, email of data is sent - without having something monitor the database tables" ? Peter Sullivan (psu) suggested "attatch a trigger to something on the form e.,g the submnit button & write some python to do it" . Jason agreed - "it would be no different than in n-tier mode - in n-tier you have triggers watching transactions at the middle-ware level" . Nick Rusnov suggested "you could put a pl/sql trigger in no?" . Peter said this would be "d/b specific - a forms trigger will work with any back end" . Charles asked "how would a trigger execute code?" . Jason explained that was what a Forms trigger was - this wasn't a database-level trigger. Nick said "the reason I liked the database level trigger is you only have to deal with sending mail in one spot then and get mail working on one computer" . Charles agreed, saying that he might have a mix of different operating systems running the Forms client. Jason suggested "when that's a big deal for my stuff, I just have an xml-rpc instance running on the server to listen for those events" . Nick also suggested "you could have like a webform email thing and url encode it. its hacky though." Charles asked "with DB triggers, is there a "mail function" or a method of executing external scripts?" . Nick noted that in "postgres you can embed a perl scrip.t or a pl/sql script - I know in perl its pretty easy to send mail :)" .

Sharon And Joy

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